Saturday October 31st, 2009

The exercise:

Your four line poem prompt this week: death goes trick-or-treating.

I think a lot can be done with this one, so if you come up with something longer than four lines just go with it. I promise not to yell at you :)

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. Let's do this!


I'm not here for the candy,
So please put away your bowl;
Don't compliment my costume,
I'm only here for your soul.

Friday October 30th, 2009

The exercise:

Your Friday Four Line Prose starter this week: anticipation.

I cannot wait for November to arrive.


I have inspected the bars of this cage so often, so carefully, that I can see their every blemish with my eyes closed. I have tested them, over and over, seeking out a weakness, a crack that could be turned into a break, into freedom.

And I have found one at last - but still I wait.

Soon... soon the time will be right and then I shall be unleashed upon the world.

Thursday October 29th, 2009

The exercise:

The prompt today: the coming storm.

With just a couple days left before NaNoWriMo begins, it has been occupying a lot of brain space lately.


This surging wave of words
Will not drag me under;
But how much will it hurt,
I can't help but wonder.
How long will the scars last?
How different will I be?
But only time will tell,
So I'll just wait and see.

I hope that when I reach
That distant other side,
I can look back and feel
Completely satisfied.
So here's to the journey
Thousands are set to make:
May we all bravely meet
These waves about to break.

Wednesday October 28th, 2009

The exercise:

Voila, your first picture prompt from the new camera:


Down this street
That's oh so still,
Lovers meet
Against their will.

Know they're wrong,
But can't choose right;

Lust too strong,
Why even fight?

Time ticks on,
Soon he must go;
Best be gone
'fore husband shows.

But one day

Their game will end
When she says:
Let's just be friends.

Tuesday October 27th, 2009

The exercise:

Your Two Haiku Tuesday topic today: the wild west.

I think my Dad will get a kick out of this, as he's a pretty big fan of westerns.


Meet you at high noon?
I don't think so, my good man -
I can't stand the heat!

* * *

How was the West won?
Not by handshakes or kind words,
But by men like me.

Monday October 26th, 2009

The exercise:

I am having a good day today.

I bought a 4 gig memory card for the camera this morning, took a couple test pictures this afternoon, went for a walk under clear blue skies with the love of my life, and I'm about to enjoy dinner and dessert as prepared by the aforementioned Kat.

I also got some potentially very exciting news by email this afternoon, but I'll have to see how that plays out before I say anything.

So, yes. Happy birthday to me indeed.

What's that? Oh, you'd like a writing prompt. Here, try this on for size: one more gray hair.

Hey, you didn't ask for a good writing prompt.


The man in the mirror
Blinks slowly back at me;
I wonder what he thinks,
I wonder what he sees.

Does he know what I know?
Does he have my regrets?
Does he recall it all,
Or does he just forget?

I lean a bit closer,
He warily does too.
"Well I like what I see,
And I hope so do you."

He offers no reply,
Other than a blank stare.
Then he turns to the side
And points to a gray hair.

"Another one of those?"
I ask and step away.
"Just means we're still alive,
Still can laugh, still can play."

Out go the bathroom lights.
While the man disappears,
I go into the world
With my gray souvenirs.

Sunday October 25th, 2009

The exercise:

Today's starter: the camera.


Well. Then. Holy crap.

See that? That's the last picture I'll ever be taking with my old camera. The one I bought, second hand mind you, just about five years ago. The one that's been threatening to break down entirely for over a year now.

What's in the picture is the Canon PowerShot G10, better known as Marc's New Shiny.

Thanks to the efforts of my good friend Amy and my lovely fiancee Kat, basically all my friends and family chipped in to buy me that for my birthday present this year. Thanks doesn't really cut it, but... thank you anyway.

I can't wait to start taking pictures with it. But first I need to get a new memory card, since my old one (256 megs hahahaha... sigh) doesn't fit in the New Shiny. I just have to decide whether to get a 2 or 4 gig (hahahahah... wow) card.

Which I shall be picking up tomorrow, on my actual birthday, since I'm taking the day off :)

Saturday October 24th, 2009

The exercise:

Your four line poem prompt for this fine Saturday is: unexpected.

My birthday isn't until Monday, but everybody knows that Monday is a pretty crap day to celebrate your birthday. So I'm going out with friends this afternoon/evening instead. Kat has been getting me excited about my present, so I'm really looking forward to finding out what it is.

Oddly, that has nothing to do with the choice of prompt today... but I thought I'd share anyway.


All along we've done our jobs just fine,
But of you we're getting quite tired;
Of your delays, your nonsense... hold up.
You really just said that we're fired?

Friday October 23rd, 2009

The exercise:

Your Four Line Friday Prose prompt this week: the disappearing city.

In honor of the fog that swallowed Vancouver this morning - I could barely see the buildings two blocks away from my office window.

Reminder: four lines of prose only!

(Like I actually care if you break my "rules")


Tyson's first words were surprisingly clear, given his activities of the last three hours. Which, though he certainly wouldn't be able to tell you this, involved drinking his body weight in whiskey.

But as he stumbled down the street, looking back over his shoulder at the vanishing pavement that hounded his steps, there was one thing that he knew beyond any shadow of doubt.

"That's not right."

Thursday October 22nd, 2009

The exercise:

Today's prompt: public speaking.

The inspiration: it's a long and complicated story. Let's just say I was disappointed by someone at work this morning and I needed some writing therapy.


The words come slipping,
Slithering out of your mouth;
I see nodding heads,
While my respect for you goes south.
I don't understand
What your reasons are for lying;
But what you're selling,
I sure as hell ain't buying.

Wednesday October 21st, 2009

The exercise:

Welcome to the 500th day in a row of Daily Writing Practice. I'd like to mark the occasion by... carrying on as usual. That number up there is just going to continue to get bigger and bigger and I'm not planning on celebrating every milestone.

Though I'll admit that 500 is a very pretty number.

Anyway, the prompt, as hinted at yesterday, is: stiff upper lip.

Why did I think it was so funny at the time? Because I had just got home from a trip to the dentist to get three fillings done and my upper lip was frozen. Yes, I am quite creative, thank you for noticing.


Ever since the operation all his smiles were halved - not in number, but in appearance. The doctors had told him that the chance of nerve damage was insignificant, that they had performed the procedure thousands upon thousands of times without incident.

But then, he had never been a very lucky man. He should have known, he realized afterward. If someone was going to find the needle in the ten acre wide haystack by stepping on it, he was the guy.

Knowing this did nothing to change the fact that his upper lip would never move again; that all his kisses would be only half felt; and that the jokes would follow him for the rest of his life.

As he set the timer on the explosive strapped to the chest of the struggling surgeon, he wasn't sure this would make much of a difference either. But as he tightened the duct tape around the wrists and feet of all the assistants and office staff that had so cheerfully greeted him on the fateful morning of his accident, he decided that it was worth a shot.

Tuesday October 20th, 2009

The exercise:

Today's.... aw, man. I just thought of a much better prompt. But I already wrote my haiku at work so it'll have to wait until tomorrow. I know it's not nearly as hilarious as I currently think it is, but it's coming around tomorrow anyway.

Er, righto. Sorry about that. Today's prompt for your Two Haiku Tuesday: the crown.


It glitters like gold.
It certainly looks quite old.
But it's fake? How bold!

* * *

Gold and silver teeth;
Suddenly the crown jewels
Are all in my mouth

Monday October 19th, 2009

The exercise:

Let's get the week started with: lost in time. I suspect you'll be able to sort out the inspiration for this one on your own.

Also: my deepest, most sincere congratulations to Greg on the occasion of his winning the Protagonize Autumn Poetry Tournament :)


My wrist is light,
No longer heavy with time;
My thoughts take flight,
No hands pulling down my mind.

I'm free to roam,
To dream, to wonder, to play;
My watch at home...
Yet they still say I'm late.

Sunday October 18th, 2009

The exercise:

Today's prompt comes courtesy of Greg: the pigeon vigil.


Six pigeons sat waiting patiently
On the swaying telephone wire;
As the wind picked up, and lightning struck,
They thought not of electrical fire,
But only of their friend.

Raindrops slipped from the glum clouds above
And quickly drenched their pretty feathers;
But still they sat, ignoring house cats,
As though they were kept there by tethers,
Instead of loyalty.

At last their patience paid dividends
When the black car returned to its place;
The birds took flight, with all of their might,
And dropped bombs on the murderer's face,
While crying tears of love.

Saturday October 17th, 2009

The exercise:

In celebration (?) of arriving at work yesterday morning to find that it was still dark out, this week's four line poem starter comes courtesy of Flight of the Conchords: the daytime of the night.


You said "Good morning"
And I said "Good night"
You looked outside and
Found that I was right

Friday October 16th, 2009

The exercise:

This week's Four Line Friday Prose starter is rather random... but that's never stopped me before.

So here you go: overheard on a plane.


"Hey Babe?"
"What is it now, darling?"
"Have you seen the kids recently?"
"They kept interrupting my beauty sleep so I told them to go play outside."

Thursday October 15th, 2009

The exercise:

Today's starter: required training.

I had to do one of those terribly lame required training sessions this morning at work. It was an online thing, going through various scenarios with utterly clueless 'employees' doing everything wrong, data security wise. Painful.

On the plus side, it gave me a writing prompt. Not that I particularly like what I wrote, but whatever. I'm sure you guys can do better!


I sat there,
Flipping through the five-hundred page handbook,
And I thought,
"There's required training to be a crook?"
But I saw
The teacher had a prickly, dangerous look
So I said
Nothing and waited to see what it took
To leave there
Without being sent to The Crazy Cook,
The Knife King,
Who, I knew, had written that useless book.

Wednesday October 14th, 2009

The exercise:

Today's prompt comes courtesy of g2: a bowl of petunias.

On that note, prompt suggestions are always welcome. So if you have an idea feel free to either leave it in a comment or contact me directly.


She placed the bowl of petunias at the center of the dinner table with a demure smile, telling me that they were her mother's favorite flower. I nodded and held my tongue, not knowing what to say. Should I have said they were pretty? That her mother would have been proud of the fine collection she had grown in the painted wooden boxes on her front porch? That I was sorry for her loss?

No, definitely not the last. How hollow and meaningless that would have been!

But surely something, anything would have been better than silence? But my lips held firm as she poured two steaming cups of herbal tea, placing one before me and holding the other. She stood, resting her hip against the counter, her eyes as distant as the horizon. I wrapped my worn hands around the tiny ceramic thing, sitting so regally in its purple and gold plate, and wondered why she had asked me to come.

"Robert... I have a favor to ask of you," she said at last.

"Ask and it shall be done," I said, so eager to help that I nearly stood up.

"Come with me, to visit my mother's grave," she said and I practically shouted my agreement. "And, once we're there, I would very much appreciate it... if you killed me. Just as you killed her."

Tuesday October 13th, 2009

The exercise:

The topic for Two Haiku Tuesday: downtown is on fire.

Inspiration: well it certainly looked that way this morning - black smoke billowing up from what appeared to be the heart of downtown Vancouver, at least from my office building in Burnaby. Turns out, it was just a few very pricey boats going up in flames.

Which, I suppose, would have also made a good prompt. Perhaps another time.


Skyscrapers spit flames
From mouths lined with jagged glass;
Black smoke becomes sky

* * *

"Downtown is on fire!"
"I don't care, Bob - I still need
That report by noon."

Monday October 12th, 2009

The exercise:

Having Thanksgiving dinner tonight, so food is on the brain. Today's starter, therefore, shall be: guess who's coming to dinner.


"Is it Thomas Edison?"


"Is it Al Gore?"


The guessing had been going on for twenty minutes by that point, but I took some encouragement from the fact that Maurice had finally moved on to people who were still alive.

Sunday October 11th, 2009

The exercise:

I've been messing about with ideas for the title of my NaNoWriMo story on and off for the last twenty four hours. I haven't settled on anything yet, but I thought I'd throw one option out as a writing prompt because... well, why not?

So. What can you do with: lessons in the dust.


The attic was cold and poorly lit
By weak sunlight through a window slit;
The dust must have been three inches thick.
"Let's get what we need and be gone quick,"
I told my father but he hushed me -
He was searching for a memory
And he was in no hurry.

After what felt like hours had passed,
My patience and humor fading fast,
He found the box he was looking for
And he spread its contents on the floor.
"This is the village I grew up in,"
He said softly with an empty grin;
I felt goosebumps on my skin.

"Why haven't you shown me this before?"
I asked, examining crumbling stores.
He was silent for a long, long time.
"This is why I still value a dime,"
He sighed at last and got to his feet.
Then he said the words I oft repeat:
"We can't all be born elite."

Saturday October 10th, 2009

The exercise:

Okay, that's more than enough dental talk for one week. Your four line poem topic this time around is: the reservoir.


You laughed before you jumped
With a fading au revoir!
And I watched as you became
Just one more drop in the reservoir

Friday October 9th, 2009

The exercise:

Four Line Friday Prose topic this week: trust.

Thank goodness for long weekends. I shall enjoy this one.


I mentioned to Kat yesterday that I'm quite surprised that I trust my dentist so much after such a short period of time. I've had some pretty terrible dental experiences in the past, which is a big part of why I didn't go for so long, but I've been really impressed with this one. It really helped that Kat had been going to him for such a long time and recommended him so highly, but my own interactions with him and his staff have just taken my comfort and confidence levels to new heights.

It's a nice change.

Thursday October 8th, 2009

The exercise:

The starter today: fillings.


I'm getting fillings replaced this afternoon, so you'll have to forgive me - I'm not feeling particularly creative at the moment. Mostly it's just fear, with a side of terror, and a dash of anxiety.

Feel free to share any of your dental fears, horror stories, fiction, what have you, and I'll be sure to check them out. After I get home from the dentist.

Update edit: It wasn't that bad. Aside from a brief bit of panic during the freezing portion of the festivities, it was really quite uninteresting.

Coulda done without a numb left half of my tongue for four hours though.

Wednesday October 7th, 2009

The exercise:

As per Greg's suggestion, who is now moving on to the final round by the by, we're going to have a go at the round three challenge from Protag's Autumn Poetry Tournament. In the words of the fantastic Archi Teuthis:

You must describe a person, object, situation, etc. without using a single form of sight. You can describe thought, sound, texture, taste, smell, and emotions, but consider yourselves blind. Your poem can be on any subject, use any form, etc. but realize that you cannot describe someone or something's movement (jerky, languid, pained) or appearance (blank-eyed, grinning, ruffled) or anything else using what would be revealed purely by sight.

I spent maybe twenty minutes on mine (compared to hours on my first round entry) but I think if I was still in it I'd have ended up with something similar. I'm not much of a free verse poet, but this wasn't going to work any other way.


You placed it in my palm,
Still sweating with tap water.
I closed my fingers, tentatively,
On the cool, smooth surface,
Wanting to preserve the superficial perfection
That you seem to hold so dear.

I brought it to my nose
And smiled, for I was inhaling
Wind and rain and sunshine.
My teeth sank into crisp flesh,
Juice dripped down my chin,
And I chewed slowly, savoring the first apple of fall.

They say that when one sense is taken,
The others become sharper,
Catching subtleties that others miss.
And every fall, when the first apple
Dances on my tongue,
I give thanks for this blessing.

Tuesday October 6th, 2009

The exercise:

Oh dear, I've gone and done it now.

In completely unrelated news, your Two Haiku Tuesday topic this week: over my head.

Also: fear not, I'll still find time for this blog. Everything else though? Maybe I can fit in eating and sleeping. If I quit my job.

Also also: around here November might turn into DaHaiWriMo (Daily Haiku Writing Month).

It's going to be interesting.


Oh, what have I done?
Surely I have lost my mind!
If not, I will soon.

* * *

My feet in concrete,
Water fills my lungs. I think
I'm over my head.

Monday October 5th, 2009

The exercise:

Today's prompt is: city wolves.

Inspiration explanation below. I'm curious to see what you guys do with it.


I had several strange dreams last night, but there was one in particular that was extremely vivid. In it I was walking down the middle of a snow covered street, parked cars peeking out from snow banks on either side of me, in a rural neighborhood with no one else about. The pine trees huddled in front yards and along the curb were heavy with snow and the sky above was a cloudless blue. I don't remember feeling cold, so I must have been dressed properly for the conditions; now that I think of it, there was definitely the sound of my boots crunching through the hard packed snow.

About a block and a half ahead of me were two very large wolves, heading in the same direction I was. Due to what I can only describe as 'dream logic', I was apparently tracking them. Unarmed, of course. And I wasn't the least bit scared either, just... fascinated, I think. I gave no thought as to what wolves might be doing in the city, I just wanted to see where they were going.

Unfortunately I'm not much of a tracker, even in my dreams. At some point the wolves turned around, spotted me, and began walking slowly towards me. At this point I finally realized it might be an idea to stop following them, so I turned down a side street. The next thing I remember was walking, slowly of course, backwards (sigh, dreams) away from them as they calmly followed me down this street.

As they drew closer fear set in at last. I remember my chest tightening and panic rushing through me in waves. Did either of those things cause me to run, or to bang on doors in the hopes that someone was home to let me in?

Ohhh no. No, of course not. I just kept backing slowly away as they got closer... and closer... and closer...

And then I woke up.

Sunday October 4th, 2009

The exercise:

Me and the fiancee (hee hee, still getting a kick out of that... ahem. Sorry.) caught a matinee of Julie & Julia today. I was reluctant to go at first, as I'm not a big Meryl Streep fan, but she won me over about five minutes in. I also left the theater *extremely* hungry.

Good thing Kat cooked us up a yummy bacon and black bean soup and I put together some veggies with her leftover homemade baba ghanoush. Now I am le satisfied.

Anyway, le prompte du jour: comfort food.


An eye from a croc,
A toe from a yak,
Add a stick of chalk -
Mix that up, toss it back.

Chase that with boiled rat
With a pinch of brain,
And simple as that -
You will be right as rain!

Saturday October 3rd, 2009

The exercise:

Kat and I watched The Garden last night, which I should have known would make me angry. And it did, of course, but the garden at the heart of the story was amazing and inspiring.

Anyway, as a result of having seen it this week's four line poem topic is: injustice.


As a community we grew so much
From the nothing that stood before;
Now they have returned it to nothing,
And kicked us out the door.

Friday October 2nd, 2009

The exercise:

Your Four Line Friday Prose prompt this week is: herbal remedies.

Have a great weekend :)


Joey eyed the greenish-yellow liquid doubtfully as it was placed on the table before him. He brought the concoction to his nose for a tentative sniff and recoiled as though struck, convulsing and retching in his chair.

"Drink up, dearie," his Aunt Gretchen urged, rubbing her hands together in a rather sinister fashion. "I promise it will clear your acne right up!"

Thursday October 1st, 2009

The exercise:

Welcome to October or, as I like to call it, Birthday Month.

I'm in the mood for some picture captions today. So give me what you got for this:


"Dude... did someone say 'pizza'?"

* * *

This picture was taken shortly before the photographer's tragic, incredibly violent death. Police are still searching for the killer lion cub.

* * *

"Don't tell me it ain't my nap time. If I say it's nap time, it's nap time. Got it?"